19 photos that show how much flight attendant uniforms have changed since the glory days of aviation

SFOM FIF 13Image Courtesy of SFO MuseumBraniff International Airways hostesses in uniforms, 1965

Since the 1930s, flight attendant uniforms have varied widely in their style, challenging the designers who create them to stay current with the times, while also developing a distinct look that represents the particular airline.

The SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is currently honouring both the designers who have pushed the envelope and the attendants who have worn their looks. The exhibition “Fashion In Flight: A History of Airline Uniform Design” is on display from now until January 2017 and features 70 female airline uniform ensembles from 20 different airline carriers.

Take a look back, from the 1940s onward, at some of the finest stewardess get-ups designed by big names like Valentino and Vivienne Westwood.

Transcontinental & Western Air hostess uniform by Howard Greer, 1944

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Greer was a Hollywood fashion designer whose flight attendant design included the 'blou-slip,' an undergarment that helped the two-piece stay tucked in.

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Transcontinental & Western Air hostesses in uniform by Howard Greer

Trans World Airlines hostess uniform by Oleg Cassini, 1955. Cassini was known for being the official designer for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

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Pan American World Airways stewardess uniform by Don Loper, 1959

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Beverly Hills designer Don Loper created the wool blue suit with sharp angular features that subtly paid tribute to the new jet airline age of the '50s.

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Pan American World Airways stewardesses in uniforms by Don Loper, 1959

Braniff International Airways hostess uniform by Emilio Pucci, 1966

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Pucci's revolutionary designs were introduced in Braniff's ad campaign, 'The End of the Plain Plane.' The bold colours and patterns shocked the airline industry.

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Braniff International Airways hostesses in uniforms by Emilio Pucci, 1965

United Airlines stewardess uniform by Jean Louis, 1968

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Louis designed the dress for United Airlines' then-4,500 stewardesses. It was worn between 1968 and 1970.

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United Airlines stewardess in uniform by Jean Louis, 1968

Air France stewardess uniform by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1969. Balenciaga created an entire Air France department within his Paris fashion house for the creation of this uniform, which was one of the last designs he created before passing away in 1972.

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Pan American World Airways stewardess uniform by Frank Smith for Evan-Picone, 1971. This outfit was available in two different colours -- blue or gold -- and was known as 'The Uniform for the Superjet Era.'

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Trans World Airlines female flight attendant uniform by Valentino, 1971. This plum-coloured knit dress suit was part of a collection that also included a pant-suit option for women.

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Japan Airlines stewardess uniform by Hanae Mori, 1970. Mori's design was crafted for the airline's first wide-body jet service.

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United Airlines female flight attendant uniform by Stan Herman, 1976

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Herman designed numerous flight attendant uniforms for various airlines over the years. This particular suit was worn by United Airlines attendants between 1976 and 1981.

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United Airlines flight attendants in uniforms by Stan Herman, 1976

Qantas Airways female flight attendant uniform by Yves Saint Laurent, 1986. This cropped, tuxedo-style jacket had padded shoulders and was based on the designer's 1980s power suit design.

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Aeroméxico female flight attendant uniform by Macario Jiménez, 2008. Jiménez's polyester knit suit was worn between 2008 and 2011.

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Virgin Atlantic female flight attendant uniform by Vivienne Westwood, 2014

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Once a heavy influence on the British punk scene in the '70s, Westwood brought her unique style to the airline, making good use of their fiery red trademark.

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Virgin Atlantic female flight attendant in uniform by Vivienne Westwood, 2014

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